As if we are nearly halfway through the fantasy football season !
By Martin Richardson
I tell you what, this season has thrown up some weird games, and this week was no different. The Vikings pulled off a statement win against the high-flying 49ers, with rookie sensation Jordan Addison pulling in huge fantasy numbers. The Patriots somehow got a win against the Bills, with the run game of Stevenson and Elliott hammering through that usually impressive defense. Lamar Jackson put on a clinic in how to destroy the Lions, adding over thirty points to fantasy teams across the land. And an undrafted free agent Quarterback from a Division 2 college team put the Raiders to the sword in a huge win for the Bears. And that’s just four games!
Now that we are approaching week 8, and the halfway point for most leagues, it’s getting harder and harder to pick out those waiver claims, but don’t worry, I’ve still got some! But there may be a slight focus shift to any trade candidates that may well be in order for the second half of the fantasy football season – if you’re in a league that throws down some big trades.
Dawson Knox is injured and going to miss some time. Which means this is the time for first round rookie Dalton Kincaid to make his mark on the Bills offense. Rostered on only 32% of teams, chances are he could be picked up on the waiver wire quite easily. He certainly has the potential to be a great player for them, as shown with his 75 yards and against the Patriots in that upset loss.
Kincaid is still awaiting his first touchdown this season, though I can’t see him having to wait long if he continues to get similar numbers in the next few games. A short week against the Bucs looms, then the Bengals and Broncos, it is certainly favourable for him to get some good fantasy numbers.
Over two weeks, against the 49ers and the Colts, Hunt has nearly 80 yards rushing and three touchdowns, which all make for solid fantasy numbers in a depleted Browns backfield. With Chubb out until 2024, and now Jerome Ford out for a few weeks, Hunt steps up to be RB1 for the Browns.
Available in over 50% of leagues, Hunt presents a really interesting option on waivers. He had 12 attempts for just shy of 50 yards and nearly 30 yards in the air even with Ford as RB1. Should the Ford injury be a little longer than two weeks, or he needs time to get back into the swing of things (just look at Jeff Wilson Jr last week) then you have to be looking at Hunt to step in to an RB2 role with relative ease.
DARRELL HENDERSON JR
Well, how about that Zach Evans call? First it was Evans, then it was Freeman, then it was Henderson after all that. I couldn’t believe it. But there we go. If we were on the same wavelength as Sean McVay we’d perhaps be doing very well for ourselves. In his first game back on the active roster, Henderson ran for over 60 yards and got a touchdown. Not bad for less than 48 hours preparation time.
This naturally bodes well going forward against the Cowboys in week 8 and the Packers in week 9. The week 10 bye is an issue as lots of teams have a bye that week, but with games against the Seahawks and Cardinals before Kyren Williams returns, Henderson is a must grab off waivers if he is still there for you.
I think there is real upside to taking a look at Stevenson for a low stakes trade. He had his best game of the season against the Bills and has a game against a porous Dolphins defense, where he had 60 yards total a touchdown in the reverse matchup in week 2. This is followed by a game with the Commanders in week 10, then the Colts before their bye in week 11.
Stevenson is more of a dual threat for the Patriots as he is often used as a catching back with over 160 yards already this season. I know they may not look like big numbers at the moment, but I really think his better fantasy days are ahead of him.
Three touchdowns in three games. A minimum 50 yards in all but one game all season (apart from one game which he missed) and has double figures in four games out of the six he has played in. Meyers is looking like one of the best WR2’s in the league. Compare that to star WR Davante Adams who has fewer touchdowns and a lot less production than Meyers. This may well change since he kicked his toys out of the pram and demanded more of the ball, but I think Hoyer, O’Connell and Jimmy G have made Meyers a viable fantasy WR2 who could be a difference maker in your team.
With games coming up against Lions, Giants and Jets, Meyers has the opportunity to continue his impressive form. A week 13 bye covers you over the hectic remaining bye week period.
My Mulligan Of The Week: The Detroit Lions
This is exactly why I started this part of my article. There will always be team that has a weird result that perhaps you shouldn’t read too much into. The Lions’s shock blowout against the Ravens is the perfect example of this. Teams do not become bad overnight.
If anything, what I took away from this game, from a Lions perspective anyway was that Jahmyr Gibbs will be a great addition to the team in the second half of the season. He grabbed his first touchdown of the season in a game that saw him run for sixty-eight yards as well as fifty-eight yards receiving. Ok, you might argue that this was in a game that was already lost and the blowout was done by that point, but it certainly allowed people to see what Gibbs can offer down the stretch. I would even go so far to say that the Monday night Primetime game against the Raiders is the perfect spot for him to showcase what he can do.
Adding to the mulligan for the Lions would be QB Jared Goff, who is now 0-3 against the Ravens, and has yet to throw a touchdown against them. Which is some stat! I am definitely seeing the Ravens game as a one off for Goff and the Lions and fully expect them to turn it around against a weird Raiders team.
Fantasy Football Concerns: Player Focus
A little different this week; rather than a team, I’ve got two names that are perhaps causing sleepless nights for some people this season.
I know I’ve just said that Jacobi Meyers is a top trade target in your leagues, and I stand by that, but is Meyers’ success based on the sudden and unexpected downfall of the 2022 rushing leader? Looking at the numbers, he just isn’t the guy everyone thought he would be in 2023: he has under three yards per carry, less than 350 yards at the halfway stage of the season and only two touchdowns.
On Sunday, Jacobs had eleven targets for just 35 yards. Compare that to Gus Edwards who had nearly double that a touchdown off fourteen carries, and then an eighty-yard touchdown catch. The Raiders are not where everyone thought they would be, or are they? Everyone said Jimmy was injury prone, and look where we are. Their star WR was happy to have an old team mate at QB, only for that QB to leave and now his service has dried up considerably, and here we have another RB who demanded a new held out through the preseason and is playing catch up from week one.
Perhaps 2022 was a fluke and the 872 yards of 2021 are a more accurate representation of Jacobs ability. And even then he got nine touchdowns and an average of five yards per carry.
I love a bit of alliteration, so to get another JJ who is underperforming is just perfect. Unlike Jeudy this season, who has been somewhat inconsistent in an inconsistent Broncos team. There have been times when he has gone over sixty yards in a game and looks to be on the right track for decent production, only for Courtland Sutton to be the guy who gets the touchdowns. Read into that what you will…
All this makes Jerry Jeudy an inconsistent fantasy player who may need to ride the pine of your team if someone better is available on waivers. You all know I’m riding the Rashee Rice train, who in comparison has one more target then Jeudy with 26, but has nineteen more yards, three more touchdowns and a better average yards per game of 11.7. Take the next few weeks to see what happens with the Broncos, but Jeudy could be one to try and get rid of if you can because he just doesn’t seem to be on the same page as Sean Peyton.
A Yorkshireman living in Lancashire, Martin is a massive NFL fan but his heart belongs to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Also a huge Fantasy Football enthusiast and spends far too long crunching the numbers! Follow him at @MRBucsFan31